Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Personal Diet Secrets

I hate the word diet! Going on a diet brings to mind images of people suffering through the unpleasant experiences of portion-rationing, skipping favorite foods, and consuming eccentric foods that they wouldn't normally eat. Any person who entertains the idea of dieting would fare better by taking a good look at how they arrived at their unwelcome body image in the first place, then committing to changing the habits that got them there.

In my experience, the only true way to achieve the body you desire is to make pledge to changing your adverse body-affecting habits. The key is not only changing your eating patterns, but to also commit to getting some exercise. Only a combination of the two will result in a lasting effect.

There are all sorts of diets out there. Many of them deliver on their promise of weight loss. Unfortunately, though, the weight loss is usually short-lived. The problem with most diets is that they stress the means to lose weight, but don't help to change the habits that will keep the weight off. Yes, the dieter does adhere to some sort of a routine, an eating schedule that can only last for so long.

I learned bad eating habits at a young age. I was always told I was "big-boned". During my formative years, I would spend my afternoons in front of the television eating any kind of cookie or chip I could get my hands on. It wasn't until the tenth grade that I realized I was heavy. One day, in gym class, we were given our yearly physicals. Part of the examination included height and weight measurements. When my weight was read at a whopping 256 pounds, I was devastated.

In the ensuing years, I tried many diets, shedding pounds only to regain them eventually. My self-esteem ebbed and flowed throughout. Although I never reached that weight again, I never attained my ideal body until I realized it wasn't about diets, it was about the desire within me to make some changes. The changes were twofold: change the way I ate and get some exercise.

Tips for Better Eating

- Stay away from fast food Did you ever see the movie "Supersize Me"? If you did, you'd realize that fast food is nothing but poison, threatening both your health and your look. I know we've all indulged in the familiar tastes of Big Macs and Whoppers, but they're not good for us on a regular basis.

- Cook more I've discovered that another contributor to obesity in America is fast food of another sort. Today's supermarkets are filled with foods designed for quick and easy meals that can sit in your freezer for months, to be eaten on a lazy night long after you've forgotten it was even there. Keeping the frozen lasagnas, Salisbury steaks, and pizzas to a minimum is a good thing. Try cooking with fresh ingredients. Take a good look around and you'll see that there are plenty of quick and easy things you can prepare which are much more healthy and tasty to consume.

- Eat regularly - To fend off the hunger impulses, munch on small snacks throughout the day. The key word here is small. If you eat one or two cookies between lunch and dinner, you'll find that you'll be less likely to reach for a second portion of a delicious meal. Maybe even exchange something healthier for the cookie, like a granola bar. Small steps like this one set the tone for a bigger overall change.

- Eat Slowly I was always a fast eater. (The reasons why could be the basis for a whole other topic. As such, I was always able to fit more food into my mouth and stomach before I realized I'd really had enough. I've made a conscious effort to slow it down, and I've found that I've become less likely to reach for seconds as a result.

Get Some Exercise

Exercise, or expending calories, is a must for anyone looking to take weight off and keep it off. I love to eat all kinds of foods. I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't deprive myself of the foods I enjoy just because I wanted to look good. About three years ago, I became turned on to getting off of my couch and getting some exercise by a program I had seen but never watched.

"Gilad's Bodies in Motion", on Fit TV, is a show that's been around for years. It was filmed in the late eighties/ early nineties on the beaches of Hawaii. I soon started to exercise every day with Gilad and his friends. It was fun and not too strenuous. I kept at it and though the results were not immediate, eventually I began to notice results. The show's workout is well rounded and short enough not to be something I dreaded doing. The compliments soon started coming my way, and motivated to keep going.

I've since expanded my at home workouts. It's become a new habit.' As I haven't give up eating the things I love to eat, I can attest to the fact that committing to any exercise is a necessary addition to any diet.' I am 43 years old and in the best physical shape of my life. I only wish I had come to this simple, yet obvious realization sooner.

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